Date of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Department

Social Work

Supervisor

Stephanie Baker Collins

Co-Supervisor

Gary C. Dumbrill

Language

English

Committee Member

Chris Sinding

Abstract

Today, performance measurements have become a part of the dominant discourse across public, private, and voluntary sectors. Ontario’s child welfare system is one sector that has been influenced and impacted, with sometimes unintended consequences, by this institutionalized process of performance measurements. One of the measurements is Ontario’s Crown Ward Review (Audit) conducted by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. Annually, ministry officials who make up the Crown Ward Review Unit (CWRU) audit fifty-three child welfare agencies in Ontario, which take care of approximately 5400 Crown Wards (Ministry of Children and Youth Services, 2011). According to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (2011), the goal of the Crown Ward Review is “to determine that an adequate plan of care [has been] developed for each Crown Ward and is intended to stimulate improvement in the overall service delivery to children” (Ministry of Children and Youth Services, 2011). It appears to not only be about the welfare for Crown Wards, but also about organizational goals. In other words, measuring accountability, effectiveness, and efficiency, as well as to provide transparency of its services appears to be a priority. This research project examines how the performance measurements of the Crown Ward Review have impacted case management for Crown Ward workers and Crown Wards in care.

A critical analysis of performance measurements reveals that, for the most part, they have created numerous unintended consequences for Crown Wards, workers, supervisors, managers, Children’s Aid Societies, and the child welfare system as a whole. Overall, the study supports that a more comprehensive, clear, and coherent review process needs to be established and implemented across Ontario’s child welfare system.

McMaster University Library

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Social Work Commons

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